The Adequacy of My Inadequacy

A couple weeks the bug had climbed into the crib with biscuits and was pretending the monitor was a phone…a phone to which I was on the other end of, but she didn’t know it. As is normal for her, she started preaching. What can I say? It's in her blood. So I grabbed my blackberry and started recording and I laughed and laughed. At one point she started saying this ‘Okay, well I have to go now and be with my brother so I love you…love Hallie and Asher … heart heart heart – just like she was making me a picture, she was verbalizing what she would put down – and then she said H A L L I E and A A A SHH … A A A SHHH RRRR heart heart heart” I was rolling!

I didn’t want her to know I had recorded her so later that night when she was getting ready for bed I put the headphones in and handed my husband the phone and he proceeded to listen as I busied myself around our room. I thought it was really odd that he wasn’t laughing because her little talk was full of humor! So I smiled at him, he smiled at me and I put some more laundry away and kept my eye on him. ‘Why isn’t he laughing? Maybe I thought it was funny…but it really wasn't funny because he just had this ‘I’m floating into outer space’ look and THEN I started REALLY thinking and analyzing… there were two voice notes on my phone: one of Hallie and one of me. One of me driving with the kids asleep recording my thoughts and what I thought I needed to remember and what I believed God was telling me…TWO voice notes…one funny…one me…and one hubby not laughing…

Doesn’t take much to figure that one out does it?

I grabbed the phone and said ‘wait a second…what are you listening to?’

And he said ‘You’…


To which I responded… ‘well that is not what I wanted you to listen to’ and I switched the recording handed him the phone moved away as fast as I could. My face flaming red guessing all the horrible things he must be thinking of me. How lame I sounded, how silly.

A little while later this is the conversation we had:

“So, is that a recording of what you are speaking on?”

I say “UM…well…sort of…I just needed to get my thoughts out”

"Can I make a suggestion?” He asks

And this is me blank stare and finally: ‘Um, ok…sure’

"You need to stop saying Um so much”.

To which I responded: “Well…you know…I was just trying to put my thoughts out there and work through them” (I WAS MORTIFIED!) "Besides, I'm not a professional speaker so it's a little hard fro me not to just speak how I speak and be who I am."

"I know, it is just a suggestion, when you are practicing, just be aware of it." Then he asks "What are you speaking on again?"

"Being inadequate!"

Which is completely true. I have had a LOT of time to think about how inadequate I am. I have come up with a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t be writing OR be speaking, but for some reason I still am. So in this journey of searching for some inadequate people in the Bible I decided I was going to stay away from the immediate one that popped into my mind…#1 was David – I thought I could share the story of David and Goliath and then…eh…nah…so then I told God one morning “I am so inadequate I can’t even come up with something to say about being inadequate” and He said a few things to me: #1 was you can get up in a room full of women and speak about lactating (this is just something I have become very familiar with…and not because I do it well...and not something I will go into here, however I actually spoke to a room full of women about why I don’t do it well…go figure), anyway He says “you can speak to a room full of women about lactating, but you can’t take 15 minutes to talk to your sisters in Christ about me…what is that about?” To which I thought ‘this could end up badly if I don’t pull it together’. So we talked that morning a lot about the things I personally am inadequate with. I laid my insecurities at His feet and almost like a spoiled child pointed at them and said "Look! Why in the world would you have me air all this to these sweet women?" but that was not what He was going to have me put down on paper to communicate to you about. You see there are times when I believe He lets us fall flat on our face to help us learn. I think we are stubborn a lot of the time and we need to be tripped up a little, but I also believe that He does not shame us. This whole thing...is not about me, this is not about MY inadequacy…this is about Him. This right here is about His adequacy…so He is going to teach this segment…not me.

Lets have a history lesson:

During the time of Christ (and this is still practiced today) Children began their study at age 4-5 in Beth Sefer (elementary school). The teaching focused primarily on the Torah. For those of you who aren't familiar, the Torah is first 5 books of the Bible. During this time, the children would learn to read and write, and their study guide was the Torah. Not only was reading and writing part of their education, memorization was huge and most students had the Torah memorized by the time they finished this level of education.

The best students continued their study (while learning a trade) in Beth Midrash (secondary school) also taught by a rabbi of the community. They continued their education by beginning to learn the interpretations of the Oral Torah. Memorization continued to be important because most people did not have their own copy of the Scripture so they either had to know it by heart or go to the synagogue to consult the village scroll. A few (very few) of the most outstanding Beth Midrash students began interview processes to study with a famous rabbi often leaving home to travel with him. These students were called talmidim in Hebrew, which is translated disciple. Traditionally, the student would apply, go thru a grueling interview process and then if they were lucky 2 or 3 would be asked to follow the Rabbi. There is much more to a talmid than what we call student. A student wants to know what the teacher knows for the grade, to complete the class or the degree or even out of respect for the teacher. A talmid wants to be like the teacher, that is to become what the teacher is. The student would follow the rabbi to a degree that we would probably view as a definite violation of personal space. The goal was for the student to become the master. From the way the Rabbi walked, to hand gestures, to the way he ate...the student was set on becoming exactly...not just...exactly like his teacher.
If at the end of the interview process the student was not chosen, the Rabbi would essentially tell that student, you know you are great, go home, get a wife, make babies and work your family business.

Visualize this with me: Here we have two young men who are working the family trade. Two young men who worked as hard as they could, they memorized and labored over their study to become smart enough and worthy enough for a rabbi to accept them into his talmidim. Two young men who have been turned away. Two young men who have failed to accomplish what every father hoped for their son to become. Its hot and they are both quiet, still reflecting on the 'what could have been'. There is not a lot to catch today. The inadequacy of not being chosen hangs like a cloud over Peter's head as he recounts the way he was turned away, and now here is again...a failure...he can't even catch any fish. From the distance a noise shakes him out of his solemn trance. As the crowd comes closer he sees the man everyone has been talking about. A Rabbi of a different kind. People were saying all sorts of things about him. He was one of the smartest seen out of the walls of Galilee and he was challenging the very foundation of what Peter had been taught. Oh he had heard alright, and now he was here to add the icing on the cake of his day. Is He coming closer to the shore? He's talking to me! What is he saying:

"Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him." (Luke 5:4-11)

Point # 1 is this: As inadequate as we are, Christ is seeking us to join his Telmidim. There is no interview process, there is no proving you are worthy, there is just a call: Come, follow me. Can you imagine the heart of Peter's dad the day his son does not return home. Word reaches him and he finds out his son has been chosen. What? Chosen? Finally!? How can it be? But he wasn't good enough right?

Are you feeling inadequate?

So here you are in ministry. I have to tell you I never thought I would be here. I’ve had plans all along for my life that God keeps interrupting with His own and I you have to know something: I am so grateful His plans take precedence. I don’t believe if I knew exactly what I was doing all the time, if I was an expert on everything, God would be able to use me much. So if you blunder all over the place like I do, take heart, God is the thing that completes us. This is where we have the Jerry McGuire moment and instead of hearing Tom Cruise say ‘You complete me’ God is saying ‘I complete you’ and I have to believe that sends goose bumps down your spine. To know the Creator of the Universe has something going on in you. He gets we don’t have it all together, He understands we are completely inadequate and He knows it’s in our inadequacy He does his best work. Out of something these men weren’t able to accomplish in getting accepted to telmadin, Christ bore something bigger and called them disciple.

My 2nd point today is don’t get caught in the whining. It is a privilege for me to serve you and I’m sure our Passionate Heart team can tell you I whine about being too inadequate to speak. I keep saying, I think I’m too young…who would want to listen to me? This is where God’s sense of humor get’s good. I got up one morning and I was telling Him, you know you let Moses use Aaron…why can’t I have an Aaron…to which God replied ‘you should familiarize yourself with that story a little more’. So I sat down at about 5:30 and started reading the story of Moses and I could not believe how much the man whined…He didn’t want to go meet Pharaoh, he was always worried about what the people would say back to him and what he would say…and then there it was…plain as day ‘24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met {Moses}
and was about to kill him.' EEEK! Now there was a reason behind this, but really what I believe is God had had enough. NOW…don’t get me wrong I’m not saying if you start to whine about where He calls you that He’s going to show up to kill you…but I do believe that our whining gets in the way of doing. If we believe we are here for His purpose and we fill our time up with constant inward reflection about what we are being called to do, we will quickly become selfish and there is no place for God to work in that.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Jesus is still calling his Telmudine…and just like the first disciples, we are inadequately qualified. We will never be able to measure up to the standards of perfection and what an amazing gift that is that we have a God that loves us enough to use us right where we are at and still calls us to be a part of something bigger.

1 comment:

*Erica* said...

First things first...Amen, Sister! Second thing...you are a wonderful teacher. I just sat here reading your "lesson," mezmorized... I am SO INCREDIBLY thankful that we serve a risen LORD who sees through our inadequacies and still desires to work in us and through us! I feel completely inadequate on a daily basis, but I agree that this is when He does His best work! Praise Him!

1 Corinthians 2:2-5 just spoke to me. High praise that our faith rests on Him and not on man's power! Can you imagine if we depended on man and worldly things for what we need?! What a blessed assurance, that Jesus is ours and we are His! And yes, right where we are...wow. Hallelujah! Thank you for this post, Sara!